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The Dylan Ratigan Show

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Us 17, Prudential 11, America 11, Washington 7, China 6, Sarah Palin 4, Elizabeth Warren 4, New Bayer Am 3, Bayer Am 3, Kurt Anderson 3, Dylan 3, Michelle Obama 3, Karl Rove 3, T. Rowe 2, Ben Bernanke 2, Palin 2, Kevin Lucy 2, Jonathan 2, Obama 2, Texas 2,
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  MSNBC    The Dylan Ratigan Show    News/Business. The day's most important  
   issues and breaking news stories. New.  

    September 16, 2010
    4:00 - 5:00pm EDT  

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imagine for a minute a restaurant where the food keeps making customers sick. the health department would shut it down eventually, right? now think of the restaurant, the dining room where you get your food and the kitchen where they prepare it as wall street where the cooks, the bankers have an appetite to make money and the people in charge of the front of the house just put scrambled forms for you to figure out, you don't know what it is. at the end of the day, nobody cares who gets sick. that's how you get one in seven americans living below the poverty line and an on going financial ponzy scheme being ordained by our own treasury department. 43.6 million people in this country, the highest number we've had in 16 years, beneath the poverty line. today, a little sliver of positive news for those in favor of those who would be against
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the cheaters and for those who compete in this country, harvard professor elizabeth warren will launch the new consumer protection bureau. she's an excellent choice for the job. i honestly couldn't think of a better one. the problem is the job itself, too small and doesn't actually address the problem. the bottom line, as we talk about so much with the financial regulation debate this summer is in a the consumer financial protection agency is more about easing our emotional anxiety about dealing with oh, my goodness can people read the forms. but does absolutely nothing to stop the on going structural problem of allowing our financial institutions to take your retirement money and gamble with it to their winnings in too big to fail firms. which is a brilliant way to steal money. that is what we're dealing with at this moment in this country. joining us now, a couple of different people. i'm not sure who's going to be
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here first. but i think i have senator sanders. hello, senator. how are you? >> i'm great. how are you? >> i'm good. i want to split this into two different things. one, elizabeth warren and her role at the cfpa. she, obviously, is the person you have been wanting. how do you feel about the current decision? >> i think at a time when the american people are profoundly disgusted with the crooks on wall street and the huge ripoffs that wall street is perm traiting against the american people, i think millions of people are feeling better today than at least they're going to have a brilliant and aggressive advocate on their side in terms of professor warren. i've known elizabeth for many, many years. she's smart. she's tough. and i think she's prepared to take on wall street. i applaud president obama for giving her that position. >> if you were to look at the choice -- the way in which it was done, the politics of doing it, if you will, she was not installed, as you know, on an interim appointment as the director. she was installed one level beneath that and the director's
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chair won't go filled. what does that mean to -- >> here's the problem that you have. as you know, as your listeners know, the republican -- the republicans in the senate have been playing an incredibly obstructionist role from the first day of the obama administration. they have brought forth a record breaking number of filibusters. i find it very ammusing that some of the republicans are saying why doesn't the president just nominate her? bring her nomination to the senate? of course, so they can defeat her. the president understands. that i would not have minded a debate on the floor of the senate. let let american people understand who is on the side of middle class and wall street. but at the end of the day, it was absolutely imperative that the president make this excellent appointment and i'm glad that he did. >> i agree with you. i applaud the president for making that decision. on the front of the house. on to our next set of problems. as we know, senator, if is
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offing the worsolving the world problems meant electing president obama, we could go hang out at the beach right now. the number of people above the poverty line exploded in this country. i won't recount all the statistics. tend of the day, what can we do to insure that we don't take our eye off the ball to the structural problems in this country because elizabeth warren, as great as she, is is not going to save the financial future of this country. >> no, elizabeth warren and no sing individual is the savior of this country. we need working people from california to vermont to stand up and start taking on these big money special interests. let me tell you cwhat i thichlt within the next few days we'll be debating tax policy. my republican colleagues think that it's a great idea to give $700 billion in tax breaks to the wealthiest 2%. i don't know if you know this but latest statistics tell us that the top 1% now earns
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more -- now earns 23% of all income in america. top one-tenth of percent earns more income than the bottom. 50% this inequality is astounding. this is totally innan. it is an incredibly dumb idea. what we should do is take the $700 billion that we would gain, use half of it for deficit reduction, half of it to invest in our infrastructure, roads, bridges, water systems, create millions of jobs over the next ten years and put americans back to work. that makes a lot more sense than giving tax breaks to billion airs. >> senator, thank you so much. it is always a pleasure, thank you for making the trip down to the camera to talk to us today. appreciate it. bernie sanders. another couple of piece of economic news today. we hope you are sitting down for
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them. not only home foreclosures rise again last month, banks repossessed more than 95,000 homes which is a record number. that, the final step in the process when banks cannot auction a house and it becomes a repo. the banks also continue by many accounts to misrepresent the value of all those houses and use that false value as a gambling chip in the financial markets, paying themselves bonuses, trading worthless houses if they were worth something. that is for another day. also tim geithner on the hill talking china, mainly their currency and our trade deficit which is projected to top $250 billion this year. this only matters in the sense that china has deliberately created trade policies to outsource their unemployment problem with their extraordinary number of young men to hour our country. we now have it. we're a rich country. so we pay for it. but china, at this point, does it at our expense. they keep taking our jobs, of course, fat chance of the
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american political establishment under the control of the major six industries in this country when those very same big six corporations at least too many of them continue to lobby in our own country to keep the oppressive labor practice that's currently exist in asia because it's better for profits and who the heck cares if the slaves are chinese as long as they're not americans, right? let's talk to a businessman and all around financial expert peter schiff. peter, to spare both of us the agitation of a lot of criticism and this and that and this and this and this. the reality is some of our problems, because america uniquely, unlike any other country in the world, owes a lot of money in its own currency. we're not greece in that sense. we're not another country that does not have the dominant default currency of the world. do you buy the argument that if we were to take advantage of
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that fact and really get onnest about the housing problem, about the unemployment problem about, the china problem that unlike other countries who are really screwed, we don't have to be as badly screwed as somebody like greece, for instance, if we make good decisions. >> no. actually, we're screwed worse. i mean we are more reckless and more irresponsible because we are borrowing against our own currency and that allows us to try to inflate our way out of the problem. we inflate our way into a bigger problem. the statistics that you're running off, the u.s. economy is never going to recover until the government and the federal reserve get out of the way and allow market forces to restructure this economy because government policy has -- has screwed it up. the chinese are supporting us. if it wasn't for the chinese, we would have -- there would be no products on the shelves at walmart. who knows where interest rates would be if the chinese were not buying our treasuries. in the long run, they're not doing any favors by, you know, giving us the rope to hang ourselves with. but we have to understand how badly damaged our economy is
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because of the policies by people like bernie sanders who was just on and what really bothers me, when he talks about allowing people to keep their own money that they earn, that he looks at that as a giveaway, allowing me to keep the money i earned, the government isn't giving me that money. i earned that money. and what we need in this country is a respect for hard work and entrepreneurship. and to let people know that the way everybody benefits is if you allow entrepreneurs to invest and grow businesses and hire people. you chase them out of this country. if we tax and regulate them to death, then there is nothing left. >> so make this distinction for me. there is a huge difference between a new and innovative business that is solving problems for the reasons and inspiration that's you just described. snab is a good competitor who competes. there is also a culture of those who cheat, those who use the access to the government, the ability to manipulate the government. the ability to use the
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government to prevent something else from happening. >> of course. >> so the question is, how do you draw the distinction between the business community that is competitive and value creating and the business community that is, for instance, in my view, the financial institutions who utilize their access to the government to facilitate their interest at everybody else's expense. >> that's the problem. we have to take the power away from washington. and that access won't be so important. and i agree. government and wall street are in bed together. obama isn't taking on wall street. he's been bought and paid for by wall street. we have an economy that benefits wall street but it bleeds main street dry. these cheap interest rates that we have are hurting the economy. but they're helping wall street. they're allowing wall street to continue to make money doing nothing but gambling. but shuffling people around, meanwhile credit is being taken away from main street. there is no money to invest in building a productive economy. a man can't get a loan to expand his factory to buy new equipment because all that money is
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being -- is shuffled over to wall street based on government subsidies. there is all this debate in general in the political community and in the media, on the street. that this is a class warfare of some kind. that it's rich versus poor. the tax debates make it class warfare, all these things. when the truth is, it's a culture war between those who compete and those who seek to cheat. and at the end of the day -- >> yes -- >> so there are rich cheaters and poor cheaters. >> in economics -- >> go ahead. >> you hit the nail on the head. it is something called rent seekers. you have a number of people making a living off the government. they're feeding at the public trough. some of them are collecting government benefits like unemployment benefits. but some of them are living in, you know, million dollar mansions in new york working at wall street firms. they are living off the productive class. and the productive class is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. it creates at built to vilify, you know, whenever they want to
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talk about all the rich people that we want to tax, they always point to wall street. but most of the people who are rich are not on wall street. most of the people who are going to pay the higher taxes are regular small businessmen that are trying to compete and grow a business. but they can't do that because the government makes it so complicated. not just with all the taxes, but all the regulations that cost a fortune to comply with but do nothing to make us more competitive or to protect consumers. they protect the inefficient competitors who have friends in government, who write the rules to benefit their own special interests but to undermine the national interests. >> thank you, chris dodd. how is it that we ultimately make it a distinction and avoid the train wreck that it would be a political and media-based class warfare, rich versus poor which is really where we've been forced into by both republicans and democrats in the political debate in my view, and switch from the class warfare to the culture war -- between those who compete and those who would cheat?
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>> yeah. i mean why -- look, we poured gasoline on that fire by bailing out all these wall street investment banks. people made a lot of money gaming the system. they made all the bad risky bets. when the bets went sour, we bailed them out by taking money away from main street. and if you're talking about this younger generation, you know, will is absolutely no way that the government can keep the promises that were made to the baby boom with respect to social security and medicare and finance that by taxing the younger generation. they are not going to stand for it. they're either going to revolt or they're going to leave. they're going to flee this country like my grandparents came to this country. they're going to try to escape the tyranny of high taxes and regulation and inflation and try to go to other places like china where, believe it or not, there's a lot more freedom and respect for individual liberty and private property in communist china than in the united states. >> i'm well aware. i -- i sort of -- i've been going to therapy to deal with that, peter. it's a pleasure to see you. thank you for the conversation this afternoon, peter schiff. still ahead on "the dylan
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ratigan show," clash of the titans. a fight between sarah palin and karl rove over the tea party and future of the gop. who's right? and who's who? and who's more right? ben and his family live on this block. ben's a re/max agent, and he's a big part of this community. re/max agents know their markets, and they care enough to get to know you, too. nobody sells more real estate than re/max. visit remax.com today. [ male announcer ] ever have morning pain slow you down? introducing bayer am, an extra strength pain reliever with alertness aid to fight fatigue. so get up and get goin'! with new bayer am. the morning pain reliever. but now, to get it really cooking, you need a little website development. some transparent reporting, so you know it's working.
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how about the day's other headlines. heavyweights duking it out over the tea party and talk of america's first lady. we start with the civil war within the republican party continues after the tea party success on us is, the established gop versus the tea partiers and the allies.
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sarah palin attacking karl rove for his comments against republican senate candidate christine o'donnell. tea party favorite, the palin backed in the delaware primary. >> some of the good ole boys, and i have nothing against karl rove personally. he's the expert. but some of these folks, they are saying that people like christine o'donnell and others, tea party americans can't win because they don't want them to win. >> well, palin not the only one calling for the establishment to wake up and smell the tea party. south carolina senator jim demint says the tea party will revive the american political system, not the republican rank and file. >> the tea party represents a broad cross section of the american people. and actually, it's a small part of an american awakening. what i'm trying to do is help the republicans here in washington understand that the tea party's don't want to be republicans. >> joining us today is jonathan
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kapart and mark tsaca of the washington examiner. mark, if you follow the money. it seems the money is being raised from and around some version of conservatives. i don't know if you want to call them republicans. is there fundamentally a fund-raising split inside the republican party, one driving at the tea party and one obviously not? >> i'm always amazed by this discussion, dylan, because i've been following politics here for 30 years. and this is an old story. it's an old story that, you know, began in 1964 in san francisco with the republican national convention. the problem is, the establishment republicans just don't want to admit the fact that the tea party people are the rank and file republicans. that's going to be their problem as long as they think they are smarter than the rank and file.
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>> jonathan, do you agree with that? >> it's an interesting analysis. i'm fascinated by what's happening. you were talking about a fund-raising split within the republican party. and it seems to me it's a power split within the republican party. basically, you have senator demint who has his conserve -- senate conservative spun that is giving money to conservative candidates across the country. he's -- who has a better average of backing winning candidates than senator john cornyn of texas who's job it is to increase the number of seats in the senate. now i agree with senator cornyn. you know, he says he's looking for conservatives who can win. meanwhile, senator demint is looking for conservatives, period. and what will end up happening is, sure, senator demint has all these conservatives who are on the ballot in the general election ballot for november. now is when the you are rubber hits the road and we find out whether folks throughout those states, moderates and independence who can vote, will
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come out to the ballot box and actually say whether they want their tea party republican to go and represent them in washington, given lots of the things that they've said on the campaign trail that run counter to what many of them might think. >> mark tapscott, do you think you could articulate what the basic value system of a tea party republican is? what are they for? >> leave us alone. we're smart enough to manage our own life. stop telling us how to live. >> i get that. and that's a lot of negatives. that says don't do this, don't do this, don't do this. but what do they do? >> that's what we have to say. >> so, in other words, you wouldn't have the government prevent people from stealing all our money? >> of course not, dylan. >> no. i'm not trying to be difficult. but that attitude is a very attitude that allowed the banks to walk in and steal all of america's money because we don't want government. >> dylan, they did that with the government. >> i'm aware. i'm not saying -- they did it with the government and bill clinton and bob rubin in a room
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with four people. who are we kidding? i'm not excusing the government. my point is there's an emotional satisfaction of leave me alone. i'm a momma grizzly bear. i can take care of myself. but it doesn't acknowledge the imperative of having a governing institution that is reliable and regenerating such that you have somebody to pick you up out of the river when the plane crashes, such that you got somebody to put out the fire when the house catches fire. such that you have some plan for education and health care. in my opinion, i feel like it's naive indulgence of the sarah palin crowto get themselves all fired up on the emotional tip talking about how they're momma grizzly bears and don't mess with texas when it's really out of touch with actual physical reality. >> i think this is the same attitude expressed 225 years ago. the problem with government is it constantly seeks to expand its authority and power. that's why you so often hear from folks like sarah palin the
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words stop. don't do that. that's why we have a constitution that limits it to very specific things. i want the government to be very effective at those specific things. >> i guess i would say the problem i have with sarah palin, i'm sorry, jonathan, is the inconsistency of the tea party, for instance, with the banking reform which is so obviously a submission of a government to an industry. and you talk to -- i've had dick army and everybody else through here. they're like it doesn't matter. let them take it. when that is the actual problem. i just feel like they pick and chood their issues when it comes to the constitution. i feel like they're incredibly hypocritical and inconsistent. i think most of the politicians are but the tea party is no less guilty of that. jonathan, go ahead. >> i was going to say if the tea party or the folks are all about stop. i want to know, okay. stop, but then what do you do to keep the economy from falling off a cliff when you're faced with that situation? and i haven't heard the answer to that. and if the answer is, well, gee,
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let the market decide or folks are just going to have to figure ut o it out on their own, i think that's unacceptable. >> not only that, but if the government already massively distorted everything to mark's point, house prices are wrong, job allocation is wrong, price of money is wrong, because the government in con ka hoots with business that's pay them off have crscrewed everything up, i you walk away at this moment when everything is in the wrong place, you're really going to get yourself a party. we have years to talk about this one. let's move on to something a little more human for the moment. up next, this is a spokeswoman from michelle obama saying she denies, michelle obama, that is, she denies saying that life in the white house is hell. that claim from a new biography. but the french embassy in washington also denying the story releasing a statement saying "the words attributed to the first lady of the united states were never said." but given all the flack she received from her trip to spain, her fashion, the right to bear
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arms, had a couple of kids and found herself living this life, can you honestly blame her if she did make those comments? i look at that comment and said, yes! i'm sure if you're michelle obama, you're sitting in chicago. you got your children. and all of a sudden it's like this, jonathan. >> i completely agree with you. if, let's say -- >> she should say it. >> she should. after two years that they've had, especially him, he comes home up to the residence and can you imagine? >> she's like what did you get us into? what did you get me into, man? >> right. >> mark, do you agree? >> absolutely. i think when somebody in washington stands up and tells the truth, the people outside of washington stand up and cheer because it happens so infrequently. >> yes. yes. yes. >> but it didn't happen. >> apparently. >> you can't win. let's imagine she -- she probably thought it. we'll play mind reader. she has to have thought it at
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some point. how did i get myself into this? >> i can guarantee you she's thought that at least once. >> every day. every morning when she wakes up. i joke. mark, pleasure. jonathan, always nice to see you. >> you, too, dylan. up next, silver lining in the dark clouds gathering over this country. we'll talk to the author and critic kurt anderson about this crisis in specific as a chance to reset our values as a country and get out of the business of dodging crisis and into the business of solving problems. ♪ [ male announcer ] at ge capital, we're out there every day with clients like jetblue -- financing their fleet, sharing our expertise, and working with people who are changing the face of business in america. after 25 years in the aviation business, i kind of feel like if you're not having fun at what you do, then you've got the wrong job. my landing was better than yours. no, it wasn't. yes, it was. was not. yes, it was. what do you think? take one of the big ones out?
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welcome back. today's solution express. all right. enough. control them. it's been two years since the financial crisis, you know this. unemployment is above 9%.
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more than eight million jobs evapora evaporated. our current economic growth barely qualifies as growth. a record number of homeowners lost their homes to banks last month. if ever there was an urge to hit the reset button, it's probably now. but once the button is pushed, then what? is there truly a way to restore this country's greatness? kurt anderson believes that there is. he wrote a book called "reset: how this crisis can restore values and renew america." mr. anderson, how can it? >> well, i think one thing we have to start doing and saying, look, we were on a bender for 25 years. and the way people talk about rehab and get over addiction, that's how we have to do as an individual, as a nation. cheap money, cheap oil, all that magical thinking that we exercised for the last 25 years is over. it's not like oh, that's over. we'll have a little recession and then we'll go back to normal. that's our experience of recessions. that isn't this one. >> hang on a second. the government's response that -- one that we're currently living through is led by
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president obama, tim geithner and ben bernanke was exactly what you just described. we'll print a bunch of money. and february of 2009, ben bernanke says i have an infinite supply of money, we'll pretend this crisis never happened and move on. you say. that the reality is they've done exactly what you said they shouldn't have done. >> well, we can second guess forever about what -- >> not second guessing, the system is still in place. >> december of 2009, i'm not sure radical rethinking, perhaps, was going to get done at that moment. >> but decisions were made at that point to recess everything, cover it up and move on and pretend nothing ever happened. in other words, while there wasn't a big renovation there, if the decision in 2009 by our political leadership was we don't have a problem, we can just print the money, we'll tell rat i began and the boys to shut up and you're saying we have to restructure this place, the government doesn't agree with you. >> well, the government -- i would argue that the government in '08-'09 was trying to put out
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the fire. mistakes were made. and that's what i'm talking about. once the acute crisis was over, that was the time to start talking differently and start looking at different solutions and not the same old same old. >> so forget what solutions they're looking at. what ones do you think we should be? >> on an individual level, beyond what the energy policy of america should be, you know, we all, for instance, the average american home increased in side by 50% over the last 25 years even as the average family shrank. the average car got bigger. >> what about the generation facilities? >> all of those things. en that sense of excess breeding excess, i think people were brought up short. and often in a not unpleasant way by this breakdown, by this recession. like wait a minute. this isn't making me happier. you know, talking to my kids, making love to my wife, whatever
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it is are the things that make me happy, not having a 70-inch tv rather than a 50-inch tv. and we see that happening. i look at how household debt has gone down every quarter for the last eight. and it's still way above where it was in 2000. but it's getting down there. >> what about the dependence on a culture of bubble growth? it's a tech bubble. it's the real estate bubble. it's the mortgage market. and that's where the growth comes from. if we go to some crazy scenario like yours where people are happy with slightly smaller tvs, then what do we do? >> that's why this recovery isn't happening like gang busters overnight. i think people, as they look at the future and look at their own savings and their own income and all that are just saying, no, i'm going to go smaller. i'm not going to wear hair shirts and, you know, go crazy. but i'm going to live a little smaller. and that, of course, the bubble
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that we were living on with this easy credit consumption hasn't adjusted to that. there's going to be some years of adjustment as business figures out how to deal with this new way of approaching life, lifestyle, and the economy. >> isn't the end game, though, the breaking up of these mega corporations that have formed around this country over the past decade? >> like? >> like ge, like the jp morgan chase, like citigroup, like any corporation who basically benefits itself using its size and control of government as opposed to by providing high quality products to people? >> well, you know, if people think that president obama and the socialists now breaking up big corporations, i don't think is on the agenda any time soon. but, do i think that some of these big old growth -- >> so he's a communist then? >> he's the most moderate man in america. >> if you were a capitalist, you
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would break up the corporations and have multiple people competing. >> and have serious antitrust policy? you might. i it this old growth companies, if you will, the old growth trees, i was a little hopeful that least efficient, the least productive, the most kalsfied of them would have died. we're going to die -- >> we all were. >> and, you know, it's a double edge sword the fact that gm and chrysler are making money again. i don't gain say that and it's kind of -- >> making money is one thing. adopting and innovating is a different thing. >> exactly. >> and it's not just about perpetuating at built for an old business to make money using the government. fwz creating systems to adapt and innovate going forward. quickly. >> if the car companies, though, you see they did see in the abyss and they made a lot of changes, as did the unions, to face up to the crisis they were facing. >> a pleasure. >> thank you. >> congratulations on the book. "reset" is the title. kurt anderson is the author.
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justice delayed you about not denied for the families of our fallen soldiers. an insurance giant finally starting to do the right thing as they have about withholding the death benefit payment of our fallen soldiers and effectively scamming them out of interest on those payments. unbelievable. also, from flower power to magical money trees, how babyboomers refuse to invest in america's future and make the hard decisions in their own government only to leave our generation, my generation, their children and everybody younger holding the bag. don't go yell at your mother. but i'm just saying. but first, a popularity contest you don't want to win. a new study says that when the next super bug hits, it's coming for the popular, the attractive. ♪
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you're the first to hear about all the best parties, all the best gossip. you also are the first to get
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the flu. a new report out of harvard detailing the popularity contest that you might not want to win. it says during last fall's flu pandemic, popular students got sick an average of two weeks earlier than their less socially connected peers. researchers say that these dominant social circles could be used to predict outbreaks. possibly allowing officials to mobilize vaccines earlier so when the super bug hits it will come for the beautiful and popular first which means the in other words have the last laugh after all especially since they're the ones that probably created the virus. still ahead, an update on the scam involving soldiers families who are reporting it for weeks, justice delayed but not denied. it doesn't mean the families of the fallen that have been ripped off by prude and others are getting their money back. it does mean that future families may not get ripped off as bad. details after this.
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relentlessly followed on this program. things to a certain extent are changing for the military families who lose loved ones. well, old insurance executives get rich on the blood of our soldiers, our politicians were empowering this. that may be about to change. for those of you not familiar with the story, a quick brief. prudential came under fire withholding insurance money owed to surviving family members. there is it a beth pen filbenef. instead of paying a lump sum to beneficiaries or helping them set up that lump sum in an account held in their name where they collect the interest, the company instead would keep all the death benefit money for themselves, send check books to the families and saying they can access it a little bit at a time. this way prudential can keep the bulk of the death benefit funds in the general account where it earns interests and profits for prudential while misleading the family to believe it's an fdic
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insured bank account because it has a checkbook. but it is not fdic insured. they get a tiny interest rate on that account while prudential or metlife or whoever it is gets a huge interest rate. very profitable for old insurance executives, absolutely despicable to the family of our soldiers, of course, the insurance executives give more money to our politicians. but no more. at least a little bit. the va saying prudential will now send checks directly to grieving families who ask for them rather than holding on to the money. transparency will be improved, that's progress. but hard lit best solution whoa you're dealing with a grieving family. wouldn't it be the decent, human honorable thing to do to help them set up that account in their name so that they get that interest? instead of either saying here's a bunch of money, good luck to you? or give us the money, we'll take the interest and good luck to you? these are american businessmen.
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these are the people who control our government? where is our honor as a country? we're joined now by kevin lucy who along with his wife is suing prudential. he lost his son jeff who served in iraq. are you horrified that the va knew this was going on? >> it rein ijs us. it gets us so angry. here we have the people that are supposed to be taking care of our soldiers and what they do instead is that they turn their backs to them and allow somebody to profit. that's wrong. >> think about how much money the insurance company can make by trading the death benefit of our soldiers and then they give a little bit of it to politicians and tell everybody they're doing the soldiers a favor. did you feel like the insurance company and the government was doing you a favor? >> when we found out about this, we felt totally victimized. we felt that there was no honor. and everything that jeff had done. you don't come back to a government who is actually going to play games like this. this makes no sense.
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corporate america, i was crushed when i heard about prudential. i didn't think an american company would be able to profit from -- on the blood of our loved ones. >> do you think people understand how much prudential and others were making by running this scam? still are making by running this scam. >> no. i don't believe they do. i think right now we aren't even sure how much they've profited. but even profitting a dollar, and i know they're saying that it is in the millions of dollars, but profitting even a dollar on the blood of a soldier, of a veteran, that's totally repugnant, it's repulsive and totally unacceptable. or it should be in this nation. >> how do you feel about a government that takes 40% of its money from the financial services industry to fund all of our politicians and then allows the financial services industry to concoct businesses like the one they perpetrated on you? >> it just makes us question.
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i mean, we were hoping that with the new administration coming in there would be significant changes. and those changes have never occurred. it appears that the government and the politicians, they talk a great game. they want to be able to be pictured with our soldiers or they want to be at the funerals of our soldiers. but then when he had really comes push to shove to take care, to take care of the young families, to take care of the soldiers themselves, i'm sorry. but there's a huge credibility gap. >> it is almost as if not only do they not take care of them, they use them as a target of opportunity for financial predators. >> regretfully, that's what the government is proving to us at the presideent time. when this all broke out, i can remember undersecretary of the va stating he had no knowledge of it. and then to find out back in 1999, i believe that, the va and
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prudential had actually done an agreement and i don't think the agreement was made public, at least not to people like us, it was astounding. where do you go where you're going to get actual help? i mean we're so disappointed in the government. sweer disappointed in prudential. and it just appeared, i'm happy for the moves the va has made. but the va hasn't done enough yet. >> kevin, we will stay on this until it is resolved. you have my word. i know there are few others within the media that have really understand what you have gone through or as empathetic to what you've gone through as is possible. and are as offended or share your offense, i should say and i'm one of those people. thank you for coming on to share your story with us so that we can understand it better. kevin lucy who is in the process of suing prudential but who lost his son after the iraq war and
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was victimized by this scam. thank you, kevin. coming up here on "hard ball," chris talking about two new pals that may be good news for democrats come november. then again, we don't know good news for democrats is good news for america, but what the heck, it's good news for the democrats even if they're screwing america, too. but still ahead this hour, we're joined by professor who says he is sorry for the mess of a country his students are graduating into and wait until you hear where he places the blame. back on its feet. but the financial landscape is still full of uncertainty. in times like these, you need an experienced partner to look out for you. heads up! and after 300 years we have gotten pretty good at that. [ male announcer ] ever have morning pain slow you down? introducing bayer am,
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a college professor getting a lot of buzz for getting a letter from his students. he writes, you have been the victims of a terrible swindle,
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denied an inheritance you deserve by contract and by merits. this is letter is an apology and a signal to start demanding what's been taken from you so can you pass it on with interest. so who does he blame? none other than the children's generati generation. your parents and their parents lashed out as government as though there was something else that could replace it. of course, we can afford a government that can actually work. the fact is that your parents have simply chosen not to have it. joining us now the author of that letter, michael o'hare, president of public policy at the university of california berkeley. professor, what would you have the students do today to address this terrible injustice you describe? >> well, i recommend that first they can have a little talk with their parents and then have a little talk with each other. they need to vote. they need to read. they need newspapers. and they can't really do it all themselves. i wish i could come here with a ready prescription. if you have an election in
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california this year and i hope you listen critically to what the candidates are saying to them and who it makes any sense to them. >> you are surprised at the degree to which the babyboomer generation has indulged its own consumption and its own fear and fantasy at the expense of the future infrastructure, future education and future possibilities of this country? >> it's my generation. i don't know if i'm surprised or not. i'm certainly disappointed and i'm ashamed of it. >> if you were to look at where your generation went wrong, because surely it wasn't done with malice. surely it wasn't a premeditated conspiracy, what do you think it was in the babyboomer generation that suddenly made them feel either the lack of boundaries or the lack of responsibility that indulged the level of borrowing consumption that it has gotten my generation and those younger
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than myself, your students, into this situation? >> well, it's very hard to point to a particular thing. one thing that probably matters is something that my colleague has pointed out which is that middle class income started to flatten out in the last couple of decades of the last century. it's a lot easier to be generous forward looking and responsible when at least you think it will be better off in the next few years than you are now. and that's made it harder. another thing i think made it very difficult is a tremendous transfer of wealth that we've observed at least for 20 years, maybe for longer, from everybody to the top 1% of the population. and even from the top 10% to the top 1% of income earners. we've never seen anything like this since the late 19th century. and it certainly leaving other people feel like maybe they can't afford to do the right thing. i think that's silly. what it would cost to -- what it would cost to give california a budget and cover our deficit is only about $500 per person. our income is $40,000 a year.
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and another $500 on top of that we could handle as well. >> right. but let's be honest. we know it's not about the money. no one spends more on health care and gets less than we do. almost no one spends more on education than we do and gets less. we've got power plants that are incredibly inefficient, cars that are expensive and incredibly inefficient. our issue is never spending money. our issue is that we spend money to make ourselves feel better emotionally in some way. but actually don't invest money in the future of our own lives of our own country. and there's a difference between spending money to feel good and spending money to invest in the future. >> especially spending none feel good in the short run rather than spending money to feel good in the long run. a lot of the things we're not buying -- a lot of the things we're not buying to leave to our kids are also affecting us. people, i mean look at the highways. they're overcrowded. infrastructure is falling apart. we don't have public trans it to get around in. and that's not just for the kids.
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>> what can the kids do, though, if you look at the social liberation that came out of the '60s, and berkeley, for that matter, if we were to turn our attention to economic liberation which is it what we're in need of, the need of economic enslavement by the government and the 1% of everybody else and liberate ourselves from that, what would you suggest as a first step? >> listen carefully to what your political leaders are saying. when i say listen carefully, i say i mean does this really make sense? and if it doesn't demand better answers, when you hear political candidates saying we can't afford this and that when that really has to be provided by government, there are some things people can't buy privately like a bike path. when they say we can't afford it. say, wait a minute. is this worth buying? and it might than it's bone expensive and a really good deal. and in that case, we should go and get it. we have to improve the level of conversation. but go buy a newspaper, buy

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